Hunting is more than a tradition. It is how we got to where we are today, both as a species and as a civilization. Hunting is essential to being part of the full circle of life.
Hunter Jason Matzinger speaks thoughtfully about the ethics and the necessity of hunting in today's world in "Full Circle", a short Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation film. He speaks of being a part of the natural system, of his respect and love for the animals he takes. It is a good message.
As he walks through the forests and fields, he reflects on his role as a hunter. It's about more than simply killing an animal or acquiring meat. For some, like Matzinger, time in the field is indeed a spiritual experience that connects them to their place in the world. They become a true part of nature; one with the animals.
"There are few moments where we have the opportunity to tap into the universe so deeply," he says. "To be part of the most fundamental process of life, the food chain. To experience the full cycle of life, as an essential cog, where everything is connected."
"If hunting was all about pulling the trigger," he says, "I would have stopped a long time ago."
This is the feeling of virtually every hunter I know. Hunting fills a part of their psyche, and when they're in the woods they are cognizant of walking the same metaphorical paths as their ancestors thousands of years ago.
This is also why hunting is conservation; why we hunters are the ultimate conservationists. We want to maintain and protect this natural system that allows us to connect to the universe in such a way. And we want our children and future generations the opportunity to feel these same things.
Every time you pull a packet of venison or rabbit from the freezer you are reminded of this. You don't lose that connection, or that respect and reverence for the animal, for the life you are taking. Remorse and joy combined. This is hunting.
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